Have you ever worried that a publisher might want some radical changes in your manuscript? Heard some horror stories? Patricia, better known as author p.m.terrell, has a wild story for you!
I’d written the book while still performing contract work for a trucking company. I was younger then and I discovered my blond hair, blue eyes and tendency to look like an airhead helped me tremendously—they never suspected I was an FBI informant. The book was a dramatized version of the trucking kickback scheme, imaginatively titled Kickback.
As I approached the house, I read the letter. This publisher was not rejecting Kickback, as 3,857 had before them. They were accepting it—if I changed the storyline and made Sheila, the main character, a lesbian.
Now, I have to admit, I gave this some serious thought. After all, this could be my Big Break.
I mulled it over. The handsome man, Matt, would no longer be necessary. The suspicious coworker, Pam, would be Sheila’s love interest. The bedroom scenes with Matt would become… the bedroom scenes with Pam.
Now, I have to admit, I was in virgin territory.
So I did what any self-respecting, budding author would do. I rented a movie.
My Two Loves starred Lynn Redgrave as a lesbian falling in love with Mariette Hartley. Each time they were together, she looked at her co-worker with the same expression my husband uses when he’s grilling a steak. Hhmm, I thought. To write these sex scenes, I could just envision Sheila’s coworker as a pork chop.
I wondered what my father, an ultra-conservative, ex-FBI agent, would think of this. In my mind’s eye, I quickly realized I didn’t want to go there.
So I thought of my granddaughter, who was approaching puberty. What would she think, lying in bed at night, reading Grandma’s book, and stumbling onto lesbian sex?
I asked my husband what he thought about it. He was fine with it—as long as he could envision Halle Berry and Charlize Theron.
In the end, I wrote the publishers. In part, my letter read, “They say to write what you know. I don’t know anything about lesbian love. And at this stage in my life, I’m not inclined to do the research.”
p.m.terrell’s debut suspense/thriller, Kickback, was published in 2002. Since then, she’s become the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of 12 books, including 5 suspense/thrillers and 2 historical suspense/adventures. You can read more about her at her website and blog.
Can any of you top that one?